If you have young children..or compliant teenagers...or no children, you may be thinking..Where are the parents? What is going on at home? They should do something about their child! If my child EVER acted like that, I would not allow it.
If you have had those thoughts, I want you to know something. I want to tell you where the parents are:
They aren't in bars, never home, uncaring, selfish parents who don't put the needs of their children first. They aren't uninvolved, uninterested or uneducated. And then just add FASD into that equation...the disability that shows itself in negative behaviors but appears invisible to the rest of the world..
And so, where are the parents or kids with FASD?
They are on doing the best they can with children who have been exposed to alcohol prenatally, who wrestle with ADHD, anxiety, depression, past abuse or neglect...
They are on their knees praying desperately for their child...the child that they know...the kind, loving, sensitive and sweet child...not just the one the world is seeing..the rebellious, angry, acting out child.
They are trying to adjust to the new challenges that have been thrown their way because their child has brain damage that will not go away...yet, their child looks so normal on the outside. The world sees a delinquent, while the parent sees a kid with a brain that is not able to think through their own actions.
They are busy trying to get services in place...social services, IEP's, counseling (even if it doesn't help), psychiatrists on their child's team. They are busy jumping through the hoops that are required to get what a child may need in the future.
They are tired. They are tired of feeling like a rotten parent, a rotten employee, a rotten spouse because they are emotionally and physically drained from dealing with a troubled kid. They wait for the phone calls from the school or the authorities with reports that humble a parent beyond what they every imagined possible.
They are busy monitoring all the aspects of a teen's life. They must be hyper vigilant about their child's use of the phone, the internet, facebook. school functions and "friendships." They are busy monitoring unsafe situations that present themselves every day for their FASD teen.
They are busy advocating for their child..constantly educating Teachers, Principals, clergy and social workers who should know, what it means to struggle with FASD....poor executive functioning, poor impulse control and behaviors that are perceived as being lazy, unmotivated and disrespectful.
They are busy doubting their own abilities to handle all that may come there way. They are busy trying to sort out the "big stuff" from the "small stuff." They are busy second guessing their own instincts when the world seems to think they should be able to fix their child's behavior if they just follow three easy steps, or if they would stop letting them eat so much sugar, or if they would just be more strict with them.
They are learning to love their child unconditionally...through the good, the bad and the really ugly...They see beyond the behavior and love the child. They have to..because not many others will. They grieve what could have been before the child's life was changed by alcohol long before they were born. But, they dream for the future...they hold onto hope that their child will learn, will mature in their own timing. They know without a doubt that God sees their child's disability but does not stop there...He understands the struggles, the limitations and the precious gifts and talents he has entrusted them with. He does not see as we see...He sees our child's heart.
The parents are busy helping the world see the child that God created, disability and all. They are busy teaching their child to see themselves as God sees them...created in His image..fearfully and wonderfully made. And through it all..He has a story of hope and redemption to tell. And the ending is filled with a future that only God knows...
...so where are the parents? We are busy loving our kids through it all...
7But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16"7